1966 Glas 1700 GT

Continuing with some 1960s vintage BMW history, we have to of course look at BMW’s major acquisition follow its successful staving off of Mercedes-Benz takeover. That company was Hans Glas GmbH. In the 1960s, this company briefly moved away from its bonds as constructor of sewing machines and licensed Goggomobils to produce some seriously pretty coupes; the 1300 GT and 1700 GT were the first and better known, but the 2600 and 3000V8 were no less striking. Glas employed same tactic as most major manufacturers for the designs, hiring an Italian to pen the lines. It was Pietro Frua who was responsible for the GT’s design, and while neither his name nor that of Glas resonate with the same authority as Pininfarina, Bertone, Ghia, Italdesign and Giugiaro, Gandini or even Michelotti (who produced a very similar design in the Triumph GT6), the combination was nonetheless a beautiful outcome for the German firm.

BMW purchased Hans Glas GmbH outright in 1966, gaining access to their Dingolfing plant and engineering team (incidentally, one of the first to use timing belts!). In the process, BMW’s technology and Glas’s designs merged, giving us the BMW 1600GT. The upgraded Glas 1700 GT offered 100 horsepower, and about 5,400 Glas-branded GTs were produced before the nameplate was eliminated in 1967. BMW produced a further 1,200 1600GTs before retooling the Dingolfing plant for E24 production in the mid-1970s.

Some fifty years on, that makes any of these cars quite rare, so even though this particular Glas isn’t the most pristine out there, it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Glas 1700GT on eBay

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1965 Glas 1700 GT

During the late 1960s, my father was a Russian translator with the American Army at Bad Aibling, just north of the Austrian border. While he was stationed there, he helped curry favor amongst the local population by organizing hillclimbs and rallys that was open to both military personnel and civilians. There were a lot of interesting cars and manufacturers that existed then which are no longer with us, but one car that caught his attention was the Glas GT.

Hans Glas GmbH was a manufacturer that started out making farm machinery and evolved into a producer of motorscooters and automobiles. BMW would acquire Glas in 1966, a move motivated by their desire to access the smaller company’s patents. The GT was initially introduced in 1964 with a body designed and built by Frua and shipped for final assembly to the Glas factory in Dingolfing, Germany. This lithe coupe was initially offered with a 1.3 liter four cylinder, a larger 1.7 liter engine became available in 1965, producing 100 bhp, good for a 115 mph top speed. This 1700GT is for sale in Freiburg, Germany and had a complete restoration in 2004.


Year: 1965
Model: 1700 GT
Engine: 1.7 liter inline four
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 802 km (~ 498 miles)
Price: €45,000 (~ $60,192 USD)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1965 Glas 1700 GT on Mobile.de

Blaupunkt Cologne stereo radio, light alloy wheels with 175/70R14 tires, MiniLite 51/2×14. This Glas 1700 GT was completely and fully restored in 2003/04. The car is now in top-notch condition, since it was restored only driven 802 km. All historical documents including statements by the former Glas dealers are available. Only 1,680 of these 1700 GTs were built, of which fewer remain. A car with a beautiful body, unique history and great handling with high potential for appreciation.

Just under 5,400 Glas GTs were built in total, with an additional 1,259 BMW badged GTs rolling off the line before BMW discontinued the vehicle. I’ve only seen one Glas GT stateside and they are impressive little sports cars with a lot of interesting details that complement the tidy fastback styling. But these little cars are not cheap. At about $60,000, you really have to want one of these or be a connoisseur of obscure orphan marques, as there are a lot of other cars at this price point to distract the collector. But, for those wanting one, a sorted 1700GT like this is attractive because parts availability for such a rare vehicle can be a concern. For someone wanting Italian flair mixed with a healthy dose of German quality, these late sixties sports cars are an awesome choice.